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Praying the Names of God

Praying the Names of God

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Praying the Names of God

valutazioni:
4/5 (4 valutazioni)
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405 pagine
6 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Sep 9, 2008
ISBN:
9780310309178
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

A devotional that will lead you into a fresh experience of God's love and power by exploring the Hebrew names of God revealed in Scripture and showing you how to pray them on a daily basis.

Names in the ancient world did more than simply distinguish one person from another, they often conveyed the essential nature and character of a person. This is especially true when it comes to the names of God recorded in the Bible: El Shaddai, Elohim, Adonai, Abba, El Elyon--God Almighty, Mighty Creator, Lord, Father, God Most High.

Praying the Names of God is a twenty-six-week devotional study that explores the most prominent names of God in the Old Testament to reveal the deeper meanings behind them and to teach you how to pray through them. Each name or title is broken down into three sections each week:

  • Monday: Study a portion of Scripture that reveals the name.
  • Tuesday-Thursday: Pray specific Scripture passages related to the name.
  • Friday: Pray Scripture promises connected to the name.

Ultimately, you'll gain a more intimate understanding of who God is and how he can be relied upon in every circumstance of your life, enabling you to echo the psalmist's prayer: "Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Sep 9, 2008
ISBN:
9780310309178
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Ann Spangler is an award-winning writer and the author of many bestselling books, including Praying the Names of God, Women of the Bible and Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus. She is also the author of The One Year Devotions for Women and the general editor of the Names of God Bible. Ann’s fascination with and love of Scripture have resulted in books that have opened the Bible to a wide range of readers. She and her two daughters live in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

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Praying the Names of God - Ann Spangler

INTRODUCTION

When I first considered writing a book about the names of God, I felt intimidated. I hadn’t spent years engaged in formal theological study. Nor could I translate Hebrew or Greek. Who was I to tackle such a subject? Yet I had difficulty shaking the idea. So I put it on the back burner, only trotting it out occasionally to suggest it as a topic to other, more qualified authors. But no one took the bait.

My previous books, Women of the Bible and Men of the Bible, the first coauthored with Jean Syswerda and the second with Robert Wolgemuth, had whet my appetite for spending long periods immersed in Scripture. The prospect of spending an entire year focusing on the various names of God in the Bible appealed to me. It promised a fresh way of encountering God. I was hungry for new and deeper insights into his nature and character.

I knew, too, that names in the ancient world carried far more significance than they do in the modern world. In addition to distinguishing one person from another, names were often thought to reveal the essential nature and character of a person. I realized this was particularly true regarding the various names of God recorded in Scripture. To know God’s name is to enjoy a kind of privileged access to him. By revealing his name, God made himself not only accessible but vulnerable. Not only could his people call on his name in prayer, they could dishonor it by living in ways that contradicted his character.

So with a mixture of trepidation and excitement I embarked on the adventure that has become this book. As I rolled up my sleeves and plunged into my topic, I began to feel as though I were being swept up into a vast ocean, carried along by unpredictable currents and tides. There I found myself exploring names that comforted and consoled me, like Abba, Father, and Yahweh Roeh, The Lord Is My Shepherd as well as names and titles that seemed strange or even frightening, like Esh Oklah, Consuming Fire, or El Kanna, Jealous God.

As I studied and prayed, God worked these names into my own life, like kneading yeast into bread. I felt challenged by names that revealed God’s holiness. They exposed my own imperfections. I felt comforted by ones that revealed him as healer and provider. They satisfied my need. At times events in my life intersected with the name I had been studying. Once I tried doggedly to complete a devotional that just didn’t want to be finished. I didn’t realize that I had to live the ending before I could write it. That happened the next day when I encountered unexpected turbulence in my personal life. The experience brought me to tears — and to my knees. And it brought also a deep conviction of God’s presence.

Though I have focused on twenty-six names of God, many of these are more properly called titles. Most often I refer to them as names for the sake of simplicity. And because I hope to write a sequel focused on praying the names of Jesus, I have concentrated primarily on the Hebrew names of God. But though I tried hard to keep Jesus out of this book, I failed utterly. How could I ignore him when the Hebrew Scriptures are alive with his presence? How could I write about Yahweh Nissi, The Lord Is My Banner, without encountering Christ on his cross? How could I study Yahweh Shalom, The Lord Is Peace, without acknowledging the Prince of Peace? Still, my primary emphasis has been to explore the Hebrew names and titles of God.

Praying the Names of God is divided into twenty-six weeks. Each week is devoted to studying and praying a particular name of God. The order of names in the book is not random but is related in most cases to where the name either first or most definitively appears in the Bible. I hope that such an arrangement will offer at least a rudimentary idea of God’s progressive self-disclosure to his people.

Here’s how each week unfolds:

•Monday is devoted to reading and study. It provides a Scripture passage that reveals the name, background information, and a brief Bible study to help you understand the name.

•Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday contain devotional readings to help you pray specific Scripture passages that contain the name or relate closely to it. The devotional readings are meant as a springboard for your own prayer. It will help to keep your Bible handy while reflecting on the relevant Scripture passages.

•Friday helps you reflect on how the name connects to God’s promises in Scripture. It offers key Bible passages that can be read, reflected on, or even memorized. A section entitled For Continued Prayer and Praise lists additional passages related to the name that can be prayed and studied on the weekend.

Though not every name and title of God is included in this volume, I have done my best to cover the most significant ones. At the end of twenty-six weeks, I hope you will have a much deeper understanding of who God is and will also have experienced him in surprising and wonderful ways.

Though any errors or deficiencies in the book are strictly my responsibility, I want to thank several people who supported me in significant ways throughout the writing of this book. Executive editor Sandy VanderZicht has helped to shape and strengthen the book with her keen editorial insights. My friend and editor for many years, she has also been a model of patience as she responded to my requests for yet another extension on my deadline. Most importantly she has prayed faithfully for me during the process of writing this book. I owe senior editor Verlyn Verbrugge a particular debt of gratitude since he supplied both the Hebrew equivalents of the various names of God as well as a pronunciation guide. He has also made valuable suggestions and provided a painstaking theological and stylistic review of the manuscript. Thanks to Sue Brower and her marketing team for so enthusiastically supporting this book. Their creative ideas have helped to spread the word far and wide. And lest I forget, I need to mention that the Zondervan sales team is among the best in the business. Their professionalism and dedication show through in their service to booksellers and ultimately to readers. I am grateful for the ways they have sold my books throughout the years.

To my agent Linda Kenney, I say: Thank you for going to bat for me. I’m grateful for your professionalism and for your creative ideas, sound advice, integrity, and friendship. You are a blessing.

Thanks also to Donna Ross for her help in readying the manuscript to be sent to the publisher, and to Lucinda Poel for making last-minute corrections with so much care and patience.

I owe a personal debt of gratitude to the circle of friends who kept praying for me during all the ups and downs of writing this book: Leslie Dennis, Joan Huyser-Honig, and Patti Swets, thank you for holding me up week after week with your prayers. I would still be writing it if you hadn’t prayed! And lastly to my friend Kathy High: You have been faithful, flexible, and kind, willing to inconvenience yourself for months on end so I would have time to finish this book. I dedicate it to you with thanks for your friendship, and for your care for my children. If there ever was such a thing as a Proverbs 31 woman, you fit the bill!

Whatever its flaws, I hope that this book will deepen your sense of awe and increase your faith in the God who loves you. May it be an open door for encountering him in fresh and deeper ways.

1

GOD, MIGHTY CREATOR

ELOHIM

The Name

Elohim is the Hebrew word for God that appears in the very first sentence of the Bible. When we pray to Elohim, we remember that he is the one who began it all, creating the heavens and the earth and separating light from darkness, water from dry land, night from day. This ancient name for God contains the idea of God’s creative power as well as his authority and sovereignty. Jesus used a form of the name in his agonized prayer from the cross. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? — which means, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

Key Scripture

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

Monday


GOD REVEALS HIS NAME

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, Let there be light. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

And God said, Let there be a dome in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters. God called the dome Sky.

And God said, Let the waters under the sky be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. Then God said, Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.

And God said, Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night.

And God said, Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.

And God said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.

Then God said, Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.

So God created humankind in his image,

in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.

God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. (Selected from Genesis 1 NRSV)

Elohim, Mighty One, you made everything out of nothing, imposed order on chaos, gave birth to beauty, and called it all good. Help me to know you as the one true God who created everything and everyone, the one who has placed me on the earth for a purpose — to magnify your name. Amen.

Understanding the Name

Elohim (e-lo-HEEM) is the plural form of El or Eloah, one of the oldest designations for divinity in the world. The Hebrews borrowed the term El from the Canaanites. It can refer either to the true God or to pagan gods. Though El is used more than 200 times in the Hebrew Bible, Elohim is used more than 2,500 times. Its plural form is used not to indicate a belief in many gods but to emphasize the majesty of the one true God. He is the God of gods, the highest of all. Christians may recognize in this plural form a hint of the Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Elohim occurs thirty-two times in the first chapter of Genesis. After that the name Yahweh appears as well and is often paired with Elohim and, in the NIV, the two together are translated the LORD God.

Studying the Name

1. Genesis is a word that can mean birth, history of origin, or genealogy. What can you observe about who God is from this passage about beginnings?

2. What can you observe about the world he has made?

3. What do you think it means to be created in the image of God? How would your life change if you lived with the constant awareness that he created you to bear his image?

4. God seems delighted by what he has made, proclaiming it good and even very good. How does God’s assessment of creation shape your own attitude toward the world? Toward yourself?

Tuesday


PRAYING THE NAME

Then God said, Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.

So God created humankind in his image,

in the image of God he created them;

male and female he created them.

God blessed them, and God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26 – 28 NRSV)

A mighty God could have created a world quite different from the one we know. It could have had perpetually dark skies, grass that hurt to walk on, dogs that couldn’t be housebroken, and people incapable of love. Have you ever wondered why the world you take for granted is often so stunningly beautiful? So pleasant to live in? Why the people around you are capable of so much kindness?

So often we miss life’s beauty because we are preoccupied by its flaws. Instead of taking off our shoes to feel the feathery soft grass beneath our feet, we complain that it’s growing so fast we don’t have time to mow it. Rather than enjoying the gregarious woman behind the supermarket counter, we blame her friendly chatter for delaying the checkout line. And what about us? Who stares back from the mirror each morning? A child of God who is growing daily in his image or someone whose nose is too big or too small, whose hair is in a state of perpetual rebellion, or whose skin is aged and worn?

Today, ask the God who made you to remake your sense of wonder at his creative power.

Wednesday


PRAYING THE NAME

Then Jacob made a vow, saying, If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth. (Genesis 28:20)

Jacob, you may remember, was the twin who tricked his brother out of a blessing. Fleeing from his brother’s wrath, he had a dream one night in which he encountered the God of his grandfather, Abraham, and his father, Isaac. Promising him descendants as numerous as the dust of the earth, God told him: All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.

This was Elohim speaking, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. He made it all, he owned it all, and he could give away its fruit to anyone he pleased. Jacob asked for safety, food, and clothing — basic human needs. But God gave him so much more, making him a wealthy man and the father of numerous children. He even blessed Esau, the brother whose blessing Jacob had stolen.

Then as now Elohim desires to use his creative power, not only to sustain us and the world he has made, but to create for us a life filled with blessings, both physical and spiritual. Ask him now for what you need, believing in both his power to bless and his desire to care for you.

Thursday


PRAYING THE NAME

In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth,

and the heavens are the work of your hands.

They will perish, but you remain;

they will all wear out like a garment.

Like clothing you will change them

and they will be discarded.

But you remain the same. (Psalm 102:25 – 27a)

Imagine for a moment that you live in a world that never changes. In this world civilizations never rise and fall, the weather is constant, children don’t grow up, and people never change jobs. In this world, the same old television shows run year after year.

Wouldn’t it bore you to death? Without the right kind of change, there would be no growth or development, no hope, nothing whatever to aim for. No one would ever talk about discerning God’s plan for their lives nor would anyone strive to fulfill their God-given potential because there wouldn’t even be a word for potential. We know that to be human is to be subject to change.

As human beings we need constructive change because both we and the world we live in are imperfect. We are not yet everything God intends us to be. But God himself is already perfect, already everything he needs to be: all-powerful, loving, wise, beautiful, and good. Change could not possibly improve him. Furthermore, he is not subject to a changing universe because he exists outside of time and space. He always was and he always will be. This means that the God who loves you will never stop being who he is. His attitude won’t change depending on his mood, depending on your mood.

Perhaps you face unwelcome changes right now: the loss of a loved one, a child leaving home, a dwindling paycheck — the future you counted on suddenly in jeopardy. Or maybe you suffer from a mood disorder, up one day and way down the next.

Let the God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever steady your world today. Whatever challenge or change confronts you, let it drive you toward the God who never changes, a God so stable and strong you can lean on him forever.

Friday


PROMISES ASSOCIATED WITH GOD’S NAME

A promise is only as good as the person who makes it. Sometimes young children make promises they cannot keep, like the one about eating all their vegetables if only you will please give them a candy bar right now. Lovers promise to stay together in sickness and in health until death parts them. Yet sometimes they stray. Salespeople promise the moon just to close a deal. But when it comes to making a promise and keeping it, God is not like any of his flawed creatures. He is absolutely reliable, completely trustworthy, entirely able to follow through on his word. As the Creator he has infinite resources to accomplish his purposes. Remember that when you think about the following promises from his word in Scripture.

Promises in Scripture

Do you not know?

Have you not heard?

The LORD is the everlasting God,

the Creator of the ends of the earth.

He will not grow tired or weary,

and his understanding no one can fathom.

He gives strength to the weary

and increases the power of the weak. (Isaiah 40:28 – 29)

So do not fear, for I am with you;

do not be dismayed, for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.

(Genesis 28:15)

Continued Prayer and Praise

Remember that we bear God’s image. (Genesis 9:6)

Thank God for his covenant with all living creatures. (Genesis 9:12 – 17)

Pray that God will turn darkness to light. (Psalm 18:28)

2

THE GOD WHO SEES ME

EL ROI

The Name

An Egyptian slave, Hagar encountered God in the desert and addressed him as El Roi, the God who sees me. Notably, this is the only occurrence of El Roi in the Bible.

Hagar’s God is the One who numbers the hairs on our heads and who knows our circumstances, past, present, and future. When you pray to El Roi, you are praying to the one who knows everything about you.

Key Scripture

She [Hagar] gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: You are the God who sees me, for she said, I have now seen the One who sees me. That is why the well was called Beer Lahai Roi [the well of the Living One who sees me]. (Genesis 16:13 – 14)

Monday


GOD REVEALS HIS NAME

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, The LORD has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.

Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living

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  • (5/5)
    Outstanding book on prayer. The daily devotional style will take you deeper into knowing who God is by spending one week on each name.